I’m posting this on my Writing Topic day because, though I drink tea most of the time, I most enjoy having a cup or tumbler full of tea while writing. This goes for winter or summer, though I prepare it differently for the most part depending upon the season. In winter, I typically prepare it by the cup, with two teabags, plenty of sweetener, and milk if it’s chai or a little additional, cold, water if it’s an herbal/green tea (to bring it down to a sippable temperature ’cause I’m impatient that way).

In the summer, preparation is a little different. I have three 2.6qt pitchers. Yes, they’re small, but I have a stunted fridge (a standard-sized one won’t fit in the fridge space), so I need them to be small. In one, I usually have some sort of powder drink mix made up (I have a weakness for Kool Aid in the summer). One pitcher I usually keep in reserve in case I come across another beverage I have to make myself. The third pitcher holds tea concentrate.

Preparation:

1. Get 8-10 teabags of whatever tea you want to make (I try to make opening individually-wrapped bags fun and entertaining without much success).

2. Using a 2C liquid measuring cup, fill to 1-1/2C with water, either boiling, or heat it in the microwave. (I cook the water without the teabags because pouring boiling water over or cooking the bags with the water causes a lot more “dust” to come out of the bags than I tend to get by dunking the bags after the water’s cooked.)

3. Steep teabags for approximately 5-10 minutes depending on how strong you want it. (I tend to leave the bags in for longer than 10 mins, ’cause I love strong teas.)

4. Remove bags (there should be about 1C tea concentrate base left), and add 1C cold water before pouring into pitcher (the cold water at this stage is especially important if the pitcher is made of plastic, as mine are; if the water’s still very hot, it can warp the pitcher).

5. After pouring base mix into pitcher, add 1 dry-measure C or equivalent measure of sweetener of choice; stir until dissolved (if preferred, sugar/sweetener can be added by serving or left out altogether).

6. Add 3C cold water and put into fridge to chill concentrate further.

To serve:

1. Pour 8-12oz of tea concentrate into mug or cup (I have a clear, closed-top tumbler with 8oz measurements on the side, but any drinking vessel will do); if sugar/sweetener hasn’t been added to concentrate already, and it is desired, add desired amount now.

2a. If black tea, and milk is desired, add milk to taste.

2b. If herbal or you prefer not to have milk in your black tea, add cold water to taste.

3. Ice optional in either version (I don’t usually use ice).